It’s a tradition for my family to go on a national park trip every year. Funny story, last year, we were supposed to go on this Canadian Rocky trip, but when we got to the airport ready to go, we realized that my passport had expired! So we couldn’t board the plane, and instead, we took the long drive to Ottawa, Quebec, and Montreal. Since we were visiting cities and going through all of the touristy attractions (instead of hiking), the trip was definitely out of the ordinary, maybe what one would consider a “normal” vacation. I wrote a blog post for Part One, Two, Three, and Four of my trip, so check it out if you want 😉
So back to the Rocky Mountains…it was absolutely GORGEOUS! I don’t think I’ve ever hiked so much before in my life though (except for the time I backpacked)! My friend’s family also travelled with us. Unfortunately, the Rocky Mountains is not a foodie destination, but I did visit some awesome (and one horrible) restaurants and cafes that I’ll recount below.
First, we travelled to Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park. We went on a cruise tour of the lake and then hiked around. This was my first view of the beautiful blue waters in the Rocky Mountains! The water is truly turquoise, pictures really don’t do this place justice. Also, this first day was our coldest of the trip, we all had to wear our North Face’s in the middle of summer! But after warming up in out resort hot tub, we went to a Japanese/Korean Restaurant. I had some tuna sushi, salmon sushi, and a special roll of shrimp tempura, avocado, imitation crab, and cucumber. Well the sushi was alright; nothing impressive and I wasn’t expecting anything great since after all, this is in rural Canada. But, the view was amazing. There are gargantuan mountains throughout the town (Canmore), and surprisingly a lot of people! (Mostly European tourists).
The next morning, I worked out (Blogilates and HIIT) on the porch of our hotel room. I had an absolutely beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains, and the weather was just chilly enough to cool my body down while I sweat.
Then we had a quick breakfast at a bagel shop right next to the sushi place. Walking in, I was thoroughly surprised by how nice it was! Very Insta-worthy 🙂
I devoured (except I was always the last one finished with my meal!) a whole wheat bagel with spinach cream cheese, lox, and egg. I have never been a big fan of bagels, I find that they all taste the same, but it was nourishing for our trip to the Banff gondola and hot springs.
Now, the views from the gondola were truly amazing, as we travelled higher up the mountain, I could see the entire town and all of the mountains below.
In the afternoon, we hiked outside of the city of Banff and had lunch there.
That afternoon, we drove to Lake Louise. We literally walked and biked everywhere, from our resort, to the supermarket, and the restaurants. Lake Louise is a very small town only opened during tourist season, so there weren’t many restaurant options. Our choices were either high end mandatory-reservation restaurants (we learned this the hard way), or low quality restaurants. After waiting at one of the expensive restaurants for half and hour, we ended up settling on a pizza place at our resort. Actually, the food wasn’t half bad! I’m not the biggest fan of Italian food because I find that it’s all just a glutinous conglomeration of cheese, butter, pasta, and bread…but I had a butternut squash ravioli that I really appreciated!
The next day was one of my favorites because we went on a bunch of short hikes, with each one more scenic than the next!
But first, for breakfast, I had THE BEST humongous bowl of oatmeal. It had maple syrup, spiced apples, and milk, brown sugar, and walnuts on the side. I also added some pumpkin seeds, granola, and sunflower seeds from my parent’s buffet breakfast.
Now that night, we made a horrible decision to not look for a restaurant using Yelp and ended up at the Village Bar and Grill. This place was horrid- the Sriracha was very clearly watered down, the waitress did not bring me a drink after I asked for it twice, we found a mysterious knife in the bathroom, there was a mandatory tip, and my stir-fried vegetables were actually steamed, and then doused in a “dressing” of water and oil!!
And unfortunately, the food choices actually decreased from there. The next day (Canada Day-actually Canada’s 150th birthday!), we hiked at the Chateau Lake Louise and made a lunch of whole wheat wraps and cheese and carrots and pretzels with hummus.
That night, we checked into a “resort” with no wifi, pool, or any other amenity. There was only one restaurant within a 60 mile radius, which was the one in our “resort”. I opted for an average pasta with sauce dish, and since there was no wifi, we spent the night playing Scrabble on the porch. The days are really long in Canada, and it was still bright and sunny at 10pm!
The next morning, I got up for a run around the resort. It was actually so enjoyable because I found numerous trails and had a 360 degree view of the mountains! I think that’s one thing I won’t forget from my trip-the backdrops of my workouts!
Then, we drove to the Columbia Icefield to look at the Glaciers, walk the Icefield and the Skywalk.